After the end of a long minor league baseball season, the road home can offer comfort and time for long thoughts about the future.
That’s where Mira Costa baseball coach Keith Ramsey found himself during his minor league career (2002-12).
“At that level, you never play in the city you live in, so at the end of the season, you have the long drive back,” he said. “During the drive, you’re pondering everything.”
Fast forward to present day and Ramsey, the current baseball coach at Mira Costa High, has started a podcast “Heading for Home” with interviews with several of his friends and former teammates, focusing on life and the journey of reaching the Major Leagues.
“I started it in December and it was something I’ve wanted to do for a year or two, but I wasn’t sure of what direction to go,” Ramsey said. “Podcasts are something I’ve always been interested in and then it came to me. I know so many baseball guys and we all go soul-searching for a year or two (after playing) and the transition that everybody goes through.”
As Ramsey’s former teammate Zack Parker said in the first episode: “I always had these great ambitions after baseball of doing something completely different, but when you actually faced with that reality, you’re not prepared for this.”
Ramsey’s playing career went as far as Triple-A. He spent time in the Texas Rangers, Colorado Rockies, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians organizations.
“I shut it down in 2012. I wanted to end on a good feeling. I was coming back from Tommy John (surgery). I was in the Atlantic League and my last outing, I threw a couple of scoreless innings,” Ramsey said. “The coach asked me if I wanted to go back, but the last thing I wanted to do was to give up a couple of doubles.”
Ramsey’s transition from playing eventually led him to coaching, starting with the Manhattan Beach Little League and then to Crossroads High and eventually Mira Costa, where he has built the Mustangs into one of the top programs in the state.
Each guest has a different path to get to the game and all had various accomplishments.
Former Peninsula high baseball coach Brian Bowles had a 13-year career. He made his Major League debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2001 and also spent time in the Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants’ organizations.
Bowles was a guest on episode No. 6. He said the podcast was kind of a cathartic process to go through and talk about the journey.
“You spend so many years pouring all of your energy into your dreams,” he said. “When you get out (of baseball) it is tough because you’re trying to figure out what’s next.
“I didn’t have to wait that long (to make the major leagues) …six years for a high schooler was the average trajectory, but a lot of years, you’re riding busses, going from hotel to hotel and living out of your bags. At the end of the season, it is mentally and physically exhausting. You might get five days off and three or four of those are travel days, but when you get there (to the majors) there is nothing more rewarding. I was so grateful for all of the opportunities I got.”